An actual letter from a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development official in Pennsylvania to the loan officer for a proposed limestone quarry, obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the Juniata Valley Audubon Society (names withheld to protect the guilty)
Z___, sorry for not getting back to you. The Senior Environmental Officer had several questions and we had a conference call with _____, _____, _____ (engineer) and _____. It was a good meeting and we satisfied the SEO on several issues. I believe we’re 98% there. All ARRA [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funds went away at 5 PM 6/30 (yesterday). We asked the Secretary’s office to hold these funds and we heard from one of the Washington weenies that they would hold the funds for us. I am not in panic mode yet, not even close. Thing is, I have 50 hours in six days on this Environmental Assessment alone and I’m really getting tired of it. This is the most difficult its been with bats, arthripods [sic], plants, wetlands, streams, old structures, neighbors who complaining [sic] and some tree hugging group out of Vermont who has questions. And all this before the Finding of No Significant Impact has been published. That’ll really bring them out of the woodwork. Problem is there’s a walking trail within yards of the quarry and the Township is rumbling already. More fun… can’t wait. I’m leaving in a couple of hours and playing golf this afternoon. I want to retire again! M___
Note: We have indeed come out of the woodwork. See “Quarry plan angers local green groups” in Voices of Central Pennsylvania, and our letter to the state Environmental Hearing Board [PDF]. In response, the USDA’s State Director, Tom Williams, ordered a revised environmental assessment. The “tree hugging group out of Vermont” is the Center for Biological Diversity, which has joined Juniata Valley Audubon in a lawsuit to try and stop the quarry.